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Clarkson in trouble after ridiculing India

Furious over controversial BBC presenter Jeremy Clarkson mocking Indian culture during a Christmas special programme while driving in India, senior Labour MP Keith Vaz today demanded an apology.

world Updated: Dec 31, 2011 17:34 IST

Furious over controversial BBC presenter Jeremy Clarkson mocking Indian culture during a Christmas special programme while driving in India, senior Labour MP Keith Vaz on Saturday demanded an apology.

The controversy seems to have even sucked in the 10 Downing Street.

Indian origin Vaz said the BBC should be ashamed for broadcasting gags about India that have evoked several complaints and allegations of racism.

The controversial comments about India's trains, toilets, clothing, food and historywere made by Clarkson during the Christmas special of Top Gear programme.

Vaz, chairman of the home affairs select committee, said: "Mr Clarkson needs to stick to talking about cars, not cultures. And he should apologise for his lack of taste. He and the BBC have done India a great disservice with this programme".

He added: "Some of the contents of the programme are clearly offensive and not the least bit funny. They were completely pointless. Mr Clarkson is not a ­comedian. He talks about his cars and that is why he gets on the show. Why do him and the BBC bother putting this out?"

Vaz also criticised Prime Minister David Cameron for making a jokey cameo appearance in the programme.

The programme started with Clarkson standing outside 10 Downing Street with his co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond.

They announced they were going to India on a "trade mission" as "ambassadors of Britain" to save the UK from bankruptcy.

Cameron then stepped out of No 10 and waved off Clarkson and his co-hosts.

Cameron smiled while warning the trio of Top Gear hosts: "Stay away from India".

An angry Vaz said: "David Cameron used his first Christmas speech this year to stress how Britain needs to secure ties with India.

"I think that's all I need to say about his involvement in the show".

A Downing Street ­spokesman said the Prime Minister would not comment on the controversy.

The BBC has confirmed receiving 23 complaints about content "offensive to India" in the programme, which was broadcast on Wednesday evening.

A BBC spokeswoman had said: "If viewers or religious groups want to complain, they can complain to the BBC. We won't be responding through the media".